Prospect Baseball’s Colin Blount zones in on a pitch from Sportika Gallagher’s Brandon D’Angelo.
Two lightning delays and subsequent heavy rain may have stopped their game a half inning before conclusion, but Prospect Baseball Academy and Sportika Gallagher National put forth an intense, exciting brand of baseball on opening day of the Super 17 Invitational (Week 2) tournament on Monday at Diamond Nation.
Jack DiMaggio beat out a bouncer to third base to drive in Kyle Hannam and, when the throw got by the first baseman, Dylan Duffy scored what proved to be the tying run during a three-run bottom of the sixth for Prospect Baseball.
By the time DiMaggio caught his breath, the umpires stopped the game due to approaching lightning. Prospect Baseball still had runners on the corners and two outs when play resumed 21 minutes later, but Sportika reliever Alex Jankowski induced a bouncer to shortstop to get out of the inning.
DiMaggio had come to bat with two outs and the bases loaded.
“I just wanted to put something in play,” said DiMaggio. “He was a little wild at that point and he threw me a curveball for a ball on the first pitch. I thought he might come back with a fastball to try to get a strike.”
Sportika Gallagher reliever, lefty Brandon DeAngelo, had complemented an excellent four-inning start by righty Josh Petrone with a 1-2-3 fifth to protect a 2-1 lead. Gallagher extended that lead to 4-1 in the top of the sixth with a pair of big two-out hits. Ben Petrone triple to straightaway center field to score Andrew Glatt and Jason Sparkes followed with an RBI single to center. Glatt, the No. 11 hitter, lead off the inning with a single to left field.
But D’Angelo’s command betrayed him in the sixth when he hit a batter and walked three along with permitting a single to Hannum. He did help himself by picking off lead runner Colin Blount and throwing him out at third base. But his walk to Colby Craig scored Demm from third and shaved the deficit to 4-2.
DiMaggio had walked and hit into a double play before finding a way on his last at bat to get the tying run home.
“I just put my head down and started digging,” said DiMaggio.
Righthander Leo Demm was terrific on the mound for Prospect Baseball and showed no ill effects from the delay when he struck out the Sportika Baseball side in the seventh around Brett Hilshiemer’s one-out double to left-center field.
“We were trying to keep Leo on a pitch count but he’s such a competitor it was hard to take the ball from him,” said Prospects Baseball coach Ben Perez. “He showed what a competitor he is today.”
Demm permitted four runs, two of which were earned, on six hits, struck out eight, walked none and hit two batters. He may have been at his strongest at the end.
Prospect Baseball had its Nos. 10, 1 and 2 batters coming up in the last of the seventh and a bit of hop in its step after Demm’s last two strikeouts in the top of the inning. But as Daniel Lamlamay was preparing to step to the plate, the game was stopped for a second lightning threat. Moments later the game was canceled and a deluge ensued.
“I told the guys they had to keep fighting,” said Perez about his team’s really in the sixth. “They just needed to stay to the script, get in good hitting counts and they’d get their hits.”
Sportika struck for two runs in the top of the first inning on Ben Petrone’s RBI grounds rule double to right field and Sparkes’ RBI grounder to the right side. Antonio Gatti’s deep shot to center that fell for a two-bases had triggered the rally with one out.
Prospect Baseball got on the board in the bottom of the first on Hannam’s RBI single to left. Demm had started it with a two-out single and took second when the ball was kicked around in left field.
Both teams had rallies short-circuited by the gritting pitching efforts of their opponents.
Josh Petrone permitted one run on five hits over four innings, striking out five and walking just one. The righthander stranded two runners in the first innings and got out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the second.
Demm had a runner reach third with one out in the third but got out of it with a comebacker and a strikeout. Sportika then got two on after two were out in the fourth but Demm got out of that one, too.
Sportika Gallagher 17U National dropped an 8-0 decision to the East Coast Lumberjacks in their second game of the day on Monday. Prospects Baseball Academy 2 fell, 9-1, to Northeast Pride 2022 Prime.
Week 2 of the Super 17 Invitational continues through Friday. Each team plays five games.